First off, on behalf of everyone at Squad, we'd like to thank you for taking the surveys that we brought to you shortly before our appearances at SXSW and GDC 2014. They told us a lot about who you are, how you got here and many things you've taken out of playing KSP.
We revealed the results of these surveys at these conference to show off what kind of community you are. Whether you reside on the forum, the subreddit or any other area of our community, you are the ones that have given yourselves the rep as one of the most thoughtful, harmonious and overwhelmingly creative communities out there. The numbers brought to us in the surveys also refreshed our eyes to some areas where we could look to both improve and bolster further.
We are now able to present the RESULTS to some of the questions asked in both surveys. We hope you find them as interesting as we have.
Our very own Calisker and NASA's Robert Jacobs recently sat down with Red Thomas from MMORPG.com to DISCUSS Kerbal Space Program: Asteroid Redirect Mission. Here's a short excerpt where they talk about the development of ARM.
Ricoxg: What was it like around the office at Squad?
Holztman: It started [as an idea] on Twitter, and it soon expanded to a conversation with SquadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s owners, Adrian Goya and Ezequiel Ayarza. Ultimately, we were communicating with the team at NASA almost daily to make sure we were doing their work justice. A lot of credit has to be given to Felipe Falanghe, KSP creator and lead developer, as well as our technical artist and developer, Chad Jenkins, and our QA director Ted Everett. The entire team crushed it but these three worked some seriously brutal hours to make this update the biggest the game has seen.
Ricoxg: Can you tell me a little about the development process? What were some obstacles, and where did the ideas for things like the tracking station/asteroid capture come from?
Holztman: The team wanted to combine the real Asteroid Redirect Mission with the game as much as possible. The tracking station is intended to emulate real life, as NASA is working hard to evaluate all of the asteroids out there that pose a threat to Earth. Where the team took some liberty was the Advance Grabbing Unit, otherwise known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Claw,Ã¢â‚¬Â that is used to redirect asteroids. It can actually grab other things too so if you want to redirect Kerbals, go for it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but please be careful!
I'm very happy to announce that the Asteroid Redirect Mission patch for KSP is now officially released!
This is a very special update in many ways, not least of course is that it was made in collaboration with NASA, to make sure our Kerbal version of the Mission was not only true to its real-life counterpart, but that it was also fun, educational, and in keeping with KSP's style, free to be performed in any way you can think of. Want to re-enact the exact mission profile NASA is planning? Go for it. Want to send up enough rocket fuel to lift an office building and slam on the retrograde brakes? That's also an option. Want to not do any of those things and just use the Advanced Grabbing Unit to choose which Kerbals go and which stay? Erm... sure.
This has been, without question, the largest update we've ever done, not just in terms of development time, but most importantly in terms of the scope of the changes made. No other update has had so many different areas improved on at the same time. We usually focus on a single area to work on, but this time, we really felt the need to make a noticeable improvement in the overall playing experience, especially around flight planning and advanced deep-space missions.
So, Here are the highlights for this update:
* Asteroids: Kerbin is no longer alone in its orbit. Nearby are countless objects that buzz in and out of its sphere of influence, some flying by harmlessly, others on impact trajectories. Ranging in size from just a few meters through 5 size classes up to gigantic objects weighing thousands of tons, these new objects should provide a new challenge for both new and veteran players. Each asteroid is procedurally generated, so no two are the same. Also, asteroids can have samples taken from them by EVAs, providing a constant source of valuable science data, right on the edge of Kerbin's SOI.
* Object Discovery and Tracking: Before you set out after an asteroid, you first need to identify and track them using the Tracking and Discovery features on the Tracking Station Facility. Select one of the unknown objects spotted near Kerbin, and start tracking it actively to reveal more information about it. Also mind that untracked objects can be lost if they're left unobserved for too long.
* The Advanced Grabbing Unit (aka "The Claw") As the name probably implies, this new part is the means by which asteroids can be captured to be redirected. Just arm the device, approach the target carefully, and the claw will do the rest. It's like a docking node, but without the need for a mate node on the other side. Better still, the AGU can be used to grab on to much more than just asteroids. In fact, it can pick up just about anything, even Kerbals.
* New SLS-inspired Size 3 parts: We've added a host of new parts, featuring the largest engines and fuel tanks ever seen in KSP. These new parts were designed based on NASA's upcoming Space Launch System, and they pack a huge amount of rocket power.
* Completely Overhauled Part Joints: We have completely re-done the way parts attach to one another, to allow for much greater flexibility and control over each joint. Joints are also more accurate and stable, as both jointed sides are now anchored at the attachment node (this wasn't possible before the Unity 4.3 update).
There's more. This update also features a host of small, and some not-so-small tweaks and improvements to usability, giving many features added a good while ago a much needed refurbishing, and adding a lot of the little things we never got a chance to add when we first implemented them.
Here's the changelog:
Release Notes: * The ARM Patch (0.23.5) should not break backward-compatibility with previous saves. That said, however, do mind that we cannot account for mods, so don't expect them all to work perfectly. If you experience any problems, make sure you try a clean install of the game without any mods, and a new clean save as well.
* The ARM Patch is available just as any other update. If you have the KSPStore version, you should be able to use the patcher to get yourself updated, or alternatively, download the complete package again. If you have the game on Steam, you should be auto-updated next time you run the game. Just make sure you haven't disabled Steam's auto-update system for KSP.
Props to you for reading this far. I won't keep you any longer. If you don't have your copy of KSP yet, the game is available at: * The KSP Store * Steam * Greenman Gaming * Gamefly
Happy Launchings, and have fun!!
As many of you pointed out, there was a weird bug in the 0.23.5 build that caused the R&D facility to appear as closed if you loaded an existing save. We've already spotted what caused this issue and we're now testing a hotfix which should solve the problem.
The revised build should restore R&D functionality, but unfortunately, if you've experienced this issue with your save, your science progress will already be reset. If you have a recent quicksave, you should be able to revert to that after the patch without problems.
This issue managed to slip by undetected through testing, most likely because it requires an old save to be reproduced. New saves should not be affected by this issue at all.
We'll get the hotfix build out as soon as possible, hopefully in a few hours. In the meantime, avoid loading existing saves to bypass this problem. We'll let you know as soon as the hotfix is up.
Our most sincere apologies for this inconvenience.
We've updated the release now with a new build, which fixes the issues with the R&D Facility being closed, and also fixes another very disruptive bug when resuming saves with Kerbals on EVA.
The new build's version number is 0.23.5.464. If you see that on your main menu's bottom-right corner, you should be up-to-date. The original release was 0.23.5.459, for reference.
Thank you for your patience, and again, sorry for the troubles.
First off, let me get something off my chest here: weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re laughing at the SoonÃ¢â€žÂ¢ meme too. Unfortunately, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more of a pained laugh for us. But we also know, when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in a game development environment, things donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always run on schedule.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the case with the Asteroid Redirect Mission, which is being made in collaboration with NASA. Yes, I added that last part for added effect. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re pretty serious about making sure this is a great update. Part of ensuring that is fixing bugs when theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re discovered. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been dealing with some serious bugs that have radically stretched our release schedule into your favorite word, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Soon.Ã¢â‚¬Â
We release information pre-launch to inform and this update is a pretty big one. We participated in SXSW Gaming Ã¢â‚¬â€œ specifically to start talking about the Asteroid Redirect Mission. We also talked about it at GDC, which was a pre-scheduled trip to be at the Game Developers Choice Awards (thanks again!) and for a few team membersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ talks. We even had a few post-GDC plans, as I'm sure you've seen. So we always intended to talk a lot about ARM pre-launch. What we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t intend was for our team to be kept so busy theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re still actively working on the build.
So, why havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we given a date? Simple. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have one yet. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re as frustrated with that as anybody and our team is working hard to finish it. Just know we are trying to deliver a fun, playable update that will challenge KSP players.
We apologize that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not finished. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re truly sorry. We want this update out as badly as each of you and nothing would make us feel better than seeing everybody having the fun we know you'll have in ARM. Right now, though, your patience is appreciated. We don't have a set date, but seriously, it won't be much longer. Maybe "soon" is a bit of a misnomer here, but let's just say if all things stay on track, you'll see it in April.
Anyone fancy an Asteroid Redirect Mission party? This morning, starting at 3AM EDT, the KSP-TV crew will be bringing you an inside look at every nook and cranny of the upcoming free update to Kerbal Space Program. Asteroids? The Claw? You'll see all that and then some for nearly an entire full day of streaming.
If you have a moment, fill out our latest survey about the impact that the KSP community has had on you. The results will be used in Calisker's GDC talk about how inspired you are to do the things you do, all out of a deep passion for KSP.
What is Kerbal Space Program: Asteroid Redirect Mission? It is an update to Kerbal Space Program that is focused on a collaboration with NASA that offers KSP players a chance to play a virtual version of the real world mission with the same name. Players can select to update KSP to gain the new content, which includes asteroids, new rocket parts and more.
What is the number for this update? Internally, we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really consider this a Ã¢â‚¬Å“numberedÃ¢â‚¬Â update but as we need a number to let the patching system understand it exists and to let people know a new update is available, we will call it .23.5. But from here forth, it is known as Asteroid Redirect Mission, or ARM, for short.
When is it coming out? ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not out yet but we hope to finish up soon. ARM is currently being tested in the experimental phase, which is the final portion of the development process. Be aware that as weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re working with NASA, we wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t recommend looking at timelines for prior updates.
Is this a DLC/expansion pack? No. In addition to the many major features contained within, Asteroid Redirect Mission has so many ground level changes and fixes that the scope felt like that of a full fledged update, as opposed to something typically classified as DLC.
Will this be a paid addition to the game then? Not at all. The ARM patch is going to be released as all our regular game updates have. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve paid for KSP already, it wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t cost you anything. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a new player, KSP currently costs $26.99 USD. We think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth the price but if you arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sure, try our free demo and
from our knowledgeable community.
WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s included in the update? Asteroids, for starters - lots of them and in all kinds of sizes. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve also added several new parts, including the largest engines and fuel tanks weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever done, and one very, very special new part. Keep on reading for more about that.
So does this mean NASA endorses KSP? No. It isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t but they are collaborating with us so more people can learn about the very real threat asteroids pose to Earth by playing this mission.
Is it true that people at NASA play KSP? Yes. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve heard many kind things from individuals at NASA and from people who work in just about every capacity of the aerospace industry.
How did NASA and KSP start working together? We exchanged tweets and realized there was potential to collaborate on something together. Now weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re excited to work with them on this very ambitious mission.
Is this 0.24? No, as noted above - if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re into our update numbering system, this is technically 0.23.5 but we prefer to call it Asteroid Redirect Mission.
So when is 0.24 coming out? We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a date for you but we are happy to say that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re working on it in conjunction with the Asteroid Redirect Mission. 0.24, with all the features we announced for it previously, is being developed in parallel with the ARM patch, so while we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t promise a specific date, the releases shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be very far apart.
What is this Claw thing? The Advanced Grappling Device, or Ã¢â‚¬Å“clawÃ¢â‚¬Â, is your primary means of capturing an asteroid. The Claw works very much like a docking port, however, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t require a mate node to dock to. That means it can grab on to almost any object. Once grabbed on, you can even transfer fuel from the grabbed objects (provided they have any).
How are the asteroids generated? Will they be belts? There is no asteroid Ã¢â‚¬Å“beltÃ¢â‚¬Â as such. The asteroids appear in the solar system as theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re Ã¢â‚¬Å“spottedÃ¢â‚¬Â near Kerbin. These spotted objects show up in the Map View as unknown objects, which means you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know a lot about them, other than that theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re there, and an approximation of how large they are. To find out more about these objects, you can start actively tracking them.
How will asteroids be tracked? The Tracking Station facility at KSC now lets you start and stop tracking objects around the solar system, and if you start tracking an unknown object, you will discover more information about it, such as its object type, name, and orbital information (which means you get to see its trajectory). If you stop tracking an object, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll lose the orbital information, but youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll still know its type and name, but if you leave an object untracked for too long, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll eventually lose it.
How can you earn science from asteroids? Kerbals on EVA can approach an asteroid and collect samples from it. These samples provide very valuable data, and are unique to each asteroid, so every new asteroid will be a fresh source of science. Also remember that experiments are sensitive to your flight situation and celestial body, so being meticulous about it does pay off.
Do asteroids have gravity? No, but these are asteroids small enough to be picked up and maneuvered by a spacecraft, so even the largest rocks out there arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t large enough to have any appreciable pull on you.
Can asteroids crash into Kerbin, and will that be a catastrophic event? Asteroids can most certainly crash into Kerbin, but even the largest objects arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t large enough to cause any significant damage. In fact, the Kerbals and that space program of theirs have probably caused more damage to the planet than the asteroids ever could.
Hey, everyone. C7Studios' SXSW recap will be coming in two parts. Here is the first part, covering the KSP tournament at LANfest. The second part, covering the panel with NASA will be seen next week. Enjoy.
One of the highlights of SXSW was the official KSP tournament at the LANfest sponsored by Intel area. The mission was to land as many Kerbals as possible on another celestial body, with increasing point multipliers for the difficulty of the planet. We were joined by a few special guests, such as Doug Ellison from NASAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Jet Propulsion Labs, and Dahud Lefthanded, a KSP-TV streamer.
While walking around the event I met a young boy and his father who had driven over to attend the tournament. I was really impressed by how well designed his rocket was. He had managed to move into third place early on in the tournament. From there on, he was neck and neck with the top competitors. The competition for second and third place was very heated. In the final moments, Doug and another KSP fan managed to pull ahead of the boy while Dahud won by a wide margin. Felipe and I decided that he shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go home empty handed, and provided him with a signed KSP shuttle.
After the prizes were handed out, Doug decided to give his prize (a shapeways 3D printed Kerbal) to the young boy. He then sat with him for the next 30-45 minutes going over all the fascinating things that NASA was working on. He showed him how to bring up displays of all the gravity and temperature data for Earth in 3D using JPLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Eyes on the Solar System software. http://eyes.nasa.gov/ As well as providing a tour of NASAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s current missions. He asked the boy to fly to Mars and pick out the landing spot of Curiosity, which he was able to do easily. His father was sitting next to him, beaming with pride the entire time. It was great to see a young person so passionate about Space and science.
Hey, everyone. C7Studios' SXSW recap will be coming in two parts. Here is the first part, covering the panel where members of the KSP team partnere up with members of NASA. Enjoy.
Last Saturday, Felipe and I participated in the Ã¢â‚¬Å“NASA and Kerbal Space Program : The Asteroid Mission in Real and Virtual WorldsÃ¢â‚¬Â panel at SXSW. We were joined by Jason Kessler, (Program Exec of Grand Challenges), and Jason Townsend (Deputy Social Media Manager) at NASA.
There, audience members got to see an exclusive video that demonstrated the main stages of the Asteroid Redirect Mission in Kerbal Space Program. Starting with the identification of unknown objects, redirection of the asteroid, and finally some research! NASA also presented a video showing the stages of the proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission in real life.
Jason Kessler also spoke about his work with NASAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Asteroid Grand Challenge. It was really neat to hear him talk about how people can get involved in helping to protect the Earth, by discovering all the Asteroid based threats to human populations. http://www.topcoder.com/asteroids/ Afterwards, Felipe spoke to the crowd about all the work we did in order to support the ARM inside KSP, such as major changes to the joints systems and improvements to the math we use to calculate orbits. I spoke a bit about how we designed the new parts, and implemented Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Claw!Ã¢â‚¬Â Which will allow you to snag unsuspecting space faring objects, or even hapless Kerbals on EVA.
We also covered the results of the community survey, to see how people have been affected by playing KSP. I was expecting to see that KSP had increased a few peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interest in aerospace, or that a portion had learned something from playing the game. What I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect was that these numbers would be so high! Over 97% of respondents stated KSP had increased their interest in Science and Space, as well as 95% had been taught something about Astrophysics or Rocket science they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know before. Both Felipe and I were really glad to see such a positive response from the community. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a real validation of the work that we do.
Overall, the panel was a lot of fun, the crowd turnout was great, and it was an absolute honor to share the stage with representatives from NASA. Afterwards we had a great time meeting fans of KSP and talking to them about the game. We gave away a ton of Kerbal stickers as well. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m looking forward to our next event.